Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Obama to Announce 30,000 Troop Surge

President Barack Obama is sending 30,000 extra U.S. troops to Afghanistan on an accelerated timetable that will have the first Marines there as early as Christmas and all forces in place by summer report various news sources. But he'll also declare Tuesday night that troops will start leaving in 19 months.

In a prime-time speech from West Point, New York, that finally ends a painfully long three-month review, Obama will seek to sell his bigger, costlier plan for the 8-year-old stalemated war said two senior administration officials speaking as usual anonymously.

This falls 10,000 troops short of what NATO Commander, U.S. Army General Stanley McChrystal had called for. This will definitely impact Canada's Task Force Kandahar. NATO confirmed Tuesday that Canada's area of operations in south Afghanistan will expand slightly to include a northern suburb of Kandahar City known as Arghandab.

Few Canadian troops will actually move back into Arghandab. Rather, new U.S. soldiers who will be under Canadian command, will soon take over responsibility for the area, which is one of several Taliban hotbeds close to the provincial capital. The Stryker force had been and will remain under U.S. command.

In Kabul, Lt. Gen. William B. Caldwell, the new head of a U.S.-NATO command responsible for training and developing Afghan soldiers and police, said Tuesday the groundwork is being laid to expand the Afghan National Army beyond the current target of 134,000 soldiers and 96,800 police by next October. But, he said, no fixed higher target is set.

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